Opinions On Cookware?
Q: Does anyone have experience, for better or for worse, with the differences between Calphalon, Le Crueset and Chantal cookware? I?m trying to choose....
A: Don't. Choose, that is. Getting a full set of ANY of these is a mistake, because they all have their uses (OK, Chantal's best use is as a window display at Williams-Somoma...) For sauteeing, frying, etc, Calphalon is great. For slower cooking, stews, sauces, etc, I use Le Creuset. I'd suggest (and others have said the same thing here) getting Calphalon saute' pans and omelette pans, and Le Creuset saucepots, saucepans, dutch ovens, "buffet casserole". That's what my setup is, and along with a trusty 'ol cast iron skillet, my biased opinion says that it's the setup to have. (BTW, between Le C and Chantal; I just chose Le C because they felt a bit sturdier to me and didn't have glass lids, but I have no experience with Chantal) The best kitchen is the eclectic one. For some dishes Cast-Iron is needed, for others Le Crueset is the best, while yet others call for Calphalon. As an example, hashbrowns demand a Cast-Iron skillet, as does many Cajun dishes. On the other hand pot roasts and some pork dishes are perfect for Le Crueset. Le Crueset is also good for high acidic dishes such as tomato sauces. Calphalon is good for many ordinary dishes. The key is not to buy a set of cookware but to mix them from all makers. Chantal is excellent for adjusting the exact rate of simmer (or boil) because of the glass lid. The instant the water seal is broken between the lid and body of the vessel, the pressure inside is decreased and boiling rate is changed. Heavy glass lids provide excellent control (like a mini- pressure cooker.) I have given away all of my other expensive cookware, except for the " trusty 'ol cast iron skillet." Strive for perfection and experiment. Each good quality cookware is OK and requires patience to learn to use.
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